Home > College, Internship, Job > A 4.0 GPA only does not necessarily guarantee a job

A 4.0 GPA only does not necessarily guarantee a job

I am sure most of us have experienced and have been with these perfect 4.0 classmates. I will call them, uhm, the four-point-os or four-point-oz. They carefully pick their classes and spend a whole year on researching and looking at different ratings to what classes and specifically profs to pick for next year. Since they are so focused on their GPA, they opt to not work or take internships. They are never late in submitting their homework or they never submit an incomplete homework. They even have so much time to read the whole textbook from cover to cover. They also whine when they get a 104% out of 105% even if that 5% was just extra credit. In most instances like these they are always fast to declare that “the prof is stupid” or “the prof doesn’t know s**t.” At instances they feel good when they point out if a prof is wrong. On other instances they gather so much pride when they answer a question in class 10 times faster than the rest of the class. They also like to interrupt when the prof is trying to answer someone’s question. They try to display that now they are at the same level of understanding as the prof or even better. They are also very disciplined as in they never miss any single class and they are always in time and never sit anywhere but the first two-row. And if sometimes things are not going their way, these four-point-os will drop the class in time so it does not hurt their GPA. With this kind of things happening, they are willing to stay a semester or a year longer to make sure the class load does not ruin their perfect GPA. In the end they end up taking easy classes that do not increase any important skills or knowledge to the already set of skills they have.

All that said, I have noticed in my experience (I would be glad if you can share yours too), that these 4.0 students always have a hard time finding and getting jobs. Frequently, because of this reason and the fact that they have a 4.0 GPA and a 1600 GRE score they end up going to grad school. Even if they are very smart at school, they fail terribly outside school structure. Where homework and projects are beyond the levels that they have experienced. They also have poor interaction skills as all these years they prefer to hide in their boxes and secure that GPA. The worst thing is that they have earned their perfect education but have not learned anything out of it. They never had chance to apply and think rationally about the things taught in classes outside the school. Because of this they know things but cannot apply it especially during interviews, the gateway to getting a job.

Most importantly, employees feel  that these 4.0 GPA have nothing to offer other than their ability to follow strict rules and being disciplined. They lack any kind of job related experience, especially internship experience. They have no record of how well they do outside of the school. Which results into rejection.

I was lucky to be in a class with couple or more 4.0 GPA students as it gave me a first hand experience of them. I was more of a guy who wouldn’t attend a class if I think I won’t learn anything out of it. I skipped those classes and instead spent those hours at my internship. Since I was paid by hour, and I was clocking more hours than they had expected, the number of meals served on my lunch box increased. The meals I refer to is the number of projects I was assigned at my internship. I tended to have my plate full and did most of the projects at a level most full-time and senior level employees did. The projects and the number of responsibilities I was given boosted the level of my resume and it wasn’t that hard (I will talk more about this on another post) for employers to call me for an interview and even get a job after I graduated. But then there were these four-point-os and they had hard time even getting interviews. No doubt that they were really smart in school but as Joel Spolsky says that they have to be smart and get things done. With a lack of internship experience, it was hard for these four-point-os to show that they could get things done.

So here is my advice to all the college students out there:

  • Do not focus and worry about GPA – I am not saying that do not study hard and make effort but if you end up making a B and you feel like you learned something from the class than be happy with that
  • Get an internship – There is no other substitute for this or get a job that let’s you apply the skills learned from school or is in a way related to your major
  • Take hard classes that are intensive in applying the knowledge you have learned in previous classes

To end this, I just want to add few other things. I might have generalized a lot of characteristics of the four-point-os. There are always other instances and circumstances that these four-point-os are not able to get the jobs. They are great individuals and they do have capability and talent for the jobs. They are one of the smartest individuals and some of them are wonderful at heart. Few of them make continuous efforts at being better at everything, but the four-point-os are beyond them. They take school seriously and value the money and time they have spent on it. I was also lucky I was able to get help, learn, and participate in discussion with few of these individuals. I hope that everyone looking for a job gets one soon. My love goes out to everyone, especially the four-point-os and I apologize, too, if I have hurt anyone which I techinically did not mean to.

  1. Roy
    January 6, 2013 at 7:47 am

    You seem to have some kind of vendetta against 4.0 GPAs, implying that they game the system and ignore other things to get a 4.0. That might be true for some but definitely not for all. I got a 4.0 through college taking the hardest engineering classes available, including many honors and graduate level ones, getting a double major, two minors, and graduating in 3.5 years so I had to take many more classes per semester than the average student. I still played intramural sports and got an internship all three summers and landed a great job right after graduation.

  2. Jake
    June 7, 2013 at 3:52 am

    A 4.0 landed me a job on the first interview out of college.

  3. Dominic
    December 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Yeah bud your “first hand” experience with 4.0 students is a bias vendetta. I am a third year pre-med student with a 4.0 and it is not easy. Those kids you are talking about get majors in bird watching. You completely discredited your “first hand” experience with 4.0 students by stating you did not attended those classes often if at all. Students that have majors in science or math fields have truly achieved something and would not have the time in their busy lives to make an article as ignorant as this. Good luck trying to discredit hard working students.

  4. September 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I have a 4.0 GPA during both undergraduate and graduate education but I worked THE ENTIRE TIME. Yes, I tried not to be late and complete assignments but that does not mean I had the issues you mentioned above. I think that the message comes across as a bit biased.

  5. Travis
    November 24, 2015 at 5:27 am

    This entire review makes it seem like you have something against people who take pride in their school work and want to do well. Studying to make B’s? That is outrageous! You are trying to teach people wrong, because everyone should strive for A’s and not just to pass the tests and exams but actually learn what they are taking. This reads like you are a jealous person and jealous of everyone who has a 4.0 and you say everyone is rude who is smart.

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